The Deification Of A Simpleton


I just had to speak about this little piece of silliness.

An opinion piece in the LA Times compares the writer's God, that senile old fool Ronald Reagan, to Bill Clinton, the conservative Republican President whose behavior has made him a joke both here and abroad. The writer, Doug Gamble, tries to make Reagan's unthinking and quite sick form of patriotism into some sort of a proud legacy. He is, for some reason, convinced that there should be some patriotic chest puffery in the mere and simpleminded act of being accidentally born in a truly small part of an otherwise tiny speck of dust within a vast universe. Throughout the article, he quotes Reagan's speeches, pretending that Reagan had any part whatsoever in the writing or conception of those speeches and completely ignoring the many, many times that Reagan made an utter fool of himself when asked to use what little mind he had in any impromptu setting. He completely forgets the danger this imbecile placed this nation in when his handlers lost control of him and he proclaimed, "I've just signed papers outlawing the Soviet Union. Bombing begins in five minutes."

Reagan was the epitome of the belief that, "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel." In fact, it was spoken quite often when referring to Reagan although no quote could capture his child-like inability to express any thought not placed there by his wife or handlers.

Now, understand, I have no intention of defending Clinton. He has been one of this nation's greatest disappointments in that his promises added up to a return to a decent, caring and forgiving nation but he decided to emulate the hateful, greedy policies of the Republicans, instead, in order to get re-elected. His personal and private shortcomings, notwithstanding the idiocy of the Right's vulgar and politically motivated exposure of those shortcomings, only lessened an already weak and childish administration.

Gamble, of course, attacks Clinton's lack of morals, again ignoring so many instances of the insanity of that sad little empty suit and poorly dyed hair. Reagan's reliance on Nancy's astrologer when considering actual American foreign policy and both of the Reagan's spiteful exclusion from their lives of their children and grandchildren are completely disregarded. Gamble forgets that it was one of Reagan's first acts as President to empty all of the federally funded mental institutions, creating the horrendous American crisis of the thousands of mentally ill homeless (mostly Vietnam era veterans). It was Reagan who fired the air traffic controllers when they struck to demand that the nation's air traffic control system be modernized and that the number of controllers be increased for safety. It was Reagan who cut the tax rates on the rich and made up for the shortfall by increasing the rates for the poor and by plunging the nation into the deepest and worst debt in its entire history to make up the difference. It was Reagan and his designer dress loving shrew of a wife who created the atmosphere of greed and selfishness and spite that has since become the focus of the conservative American's consciousness.

Gamble liberally (I bet he'd hate that adjective) offers quotes from speeches that Reagan seldom saw before reading them off a tele-prompter and pretends that these words were somehow an expression of a mind that had ceased functioning many years before. It was obvious to all American who listened closely to Reagan the few times he spoke without written cue cards that his mind and his ability to think clearly about any subject but William Holden and hookers were only a fading memory.

After reading this corruption and finding absolutely no trace of truth or reality, I felt physically ill. Imagine my surprise, though, when I looked at the end of the column where the authors give a quick description of themselves. "Doug Gamble is a humor and speech writer for Republicans who has written for Presidents Reagan and Bush." So, I finally understood how anyone could write such foolishness and how even a conservative newspaper like the LA Times could waste dead trees and ink printing it. It was all just a joke! It was meant to be some sort of humor column that had wandered off of the comic pages and had found room on the editorial section. It wasn't meant to be taken seriously, after all, and I had wasted all of that anger and indignation for nothing. Just a joke. Imagine that! Sigh!

Now, gentle readers, this may well sound like I hate Ronald Reagan. That isn't true. One cannot hate someone who was, from the beginning, completely unaware of what he was doing and, obviously, only following the orders of his Nazi-inspired handlers and his power mad wife. Reagan was never anything more than someone who could stand before cameras and read, word for word, the thoughts and policies of others. Reagan probably never had a political thought of his own in the twenty years that he played his most destructive and heartless roles as the Governor of California and, to the nation's great shame, as its President.

What I do hate is the cult-like insanity that has become this sad little man's legacy. When the horrors that were perpetrated in his name become known, the blame is put on Congress. When the already wealthy or Corporate America want to pray to their God, then Reagan's name and "legacy" are always invoked in tones reverential and awed. The only value that Reagan offered America was the power to make us forget the evils that we have acted out all over the world in the name of "Democracy" (see Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos and Lebanon and Beirut and Granada and Nicaragua and El Salvador and Iran and Costa Rico and on and on and on) and to make us feel pride in our shortcomings and in our greed and selfishness and self centeredness and violent behavior. He could only awaken our "patriotism" but, like Hitler and Stalin before him, nothing good came from that awakening. Being proud of being some insignificant part of a nation into which you were fortunately and accidentally born is a predisposition of morons and scoundrels. What he could not do is to awaken the kindness and generosity and passion that comes from being a part of a nation that is doing all in its power to make the world a better, safer and more productive place for all people to live. He couldn't do that because those who pulled his strings and moved his lips had no intention of supporting any decent movement, only one that entailed greed for the wealthy and misery for everyone else.

No, I don't hate Reagan anymore than I "hate" natural disasters. He had no choice in what he did anymore than bacteria or polio or AIDS or sharks or snakes have a choice in their behaviors.

It is those who have deified him that I am disgusted and sickened by. It is the legacy of the millions of women and children who go to bed every night hungry and cold and scared, the hundreds of thousands of homeless Americans who sleep in boxes in alleys, the elderly who are reduced to eating dog or cat food because they can afford nothing better, the schools that are falling apart because supplying hundreds of billions of dollars to Corporate America was far more important that offering our children a safe place to be educated, the hundreds of thousands of Americans whose lives were not destroyed by the drugs they voluntarily ingested but by the insane War On Drugs that Nancy reduced to the simplistic and childish "Just Say No" campaign and all of the other tragic "gifts" from his "legacy" that the Rabid Right worships and which continues to cause pain and suffering for those least able to defend themselves that I hate. And it is the millions of Americans who have some small notion of that damage but who do not speak out and fight against his legacy which greatly saddens me.

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Copyright 1/7/2000